College football star 'victim of a hoax' involving girlfriend - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

College football star 'victim of a hoax' involving girlfriend


SOUTH BEND, IN (WKOW) -- A star football player at Notre Dame is expected to make a public statement soon regarding what's being described as a hoax involving a girlfriend who never existed.

Wednesday night, the school's athletic director held a news conference to announce that Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Teo's girlfriend and her death were a hoax.

Jack Swarbrick says the school hired a firm to investigate Teo's relationship with Lennay Kekua, a woman he met online and spoke with on the phone, but never met in person.

Swarbrick says in-person meetings were set up, but Kekua never showed.

Later, Te'o was told his girlfriend had died of leukemia, but Swarbrick says that was fake.

He says Te'o was the perfect mark; a man who believed in others and was always willing to help.

Swarbrick says he's leaving most of the details for Manti Te'o to tell, which could happen as soon as Thursday.

Te'o denied that he was involved in the hoax. Te'o says, "This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online."

The story was first reported by the sports website, Deadspin. Deadspin Writer Timothy Burke says some things just don't add up with the story.

"We have a lot of stories about how they met. She was a student at Stanford and they met after the 2009 football game and we know now that didn't happen," says Burke. "When Te'o said I know that I'll see my girlfriend again someday, we know now that they never saw each other in the first place."

The Notre Dame athletic director says the University investigation found that the motive for creating a fake persona, to trick Te'o, was simply the sport of it.

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